I wish I could remember where I picked this bottle of Old Henry from Hobson's brewery up from but it's been sat in my cupboard a while. For those that are interested Hobson's Brewery is based in Cleobury Mortimer, which I gather is in Shropshire. They've got a reasonable range of beers plus some cider, some gin and some vodka for those of you who like less pleasant drinks. They produce a range of 8 proper cask beers and have been doing since 1993, but I think this is the first I've had and Old Henry is also the strongest they have to offer.
The beer comes in a very plain 500ml bottle which describes 'a rich auburn ale with complex malty flavours, balanced by a clean hoppy finish. A sensible yet stylish beer.' I guess what I have to ask myself is in this age of mad craft beer offerings do I really want a sensible beer? And the answer is yes from time to time I really do. Old Henry pours a slightly cloudy orange/chestnut colour with a decent white head which takes a few minutes to recede to lacing. Looking at the beer it certainly has the feel of something I'd order in a nice local old mans pub, so yea it looks sensible.
Old Henry has a fairly sweet, malty smell with some minor spices and maybe a little fruit, maybe cherries. It's certainly not an unpleasant smell but it's fairly faint and nondescript in all honesty. So far this really does have the feel of a beer that would do pretty well at a CAMRA beer festival, it's a proper drinkers pint and at 5.2% alcohol you'd put it just about in the top end of a session category. It certainly seems sensible, but is it stylish?
The beers texture isn't bad, it's probably just above medium bodied so it's quite drinkable, and the taste is exactly what you'd expect from the smell and description in that it's all very sensible, very safe, very traditional and a little bland. You'll find some mild fruity tastes, a fair level of hops, and some mild bitter malts, it's a perfectly acceptable cask bitter. I'm going to give Old Henry from Hobson's Brewery a respectable 6 out of 10. It's an old reliable, safe, sensible beer which wont let you down.